An inspirational soccer player, an acclaimed teenage scientist, and an Indigenous climate change activist are just a few of the many impressive young Australians currently working to change the world for the better.
At a time when bad news seems to be constantly front and centre, these young changemakers are showing the world that creating positive change can occur from even the most unlikely of people.
In celebration of International Youth Day on Aug. 12, Global Citizen has chosen a mere few exceptional and influential Aussies between the ages of 18-29 to highlight.
Kerr is arguably the best women’s soccer player in the world. When her gender stopped her from playing for the West Coast Eagles football team, she made the jump to soccer and climbed the ranks to eventually represent Australia in the Matildas Soccer Club at age 15. She now holds contracts with Perth Glory and Sydney Football Club and has become the unparalleled highest goal scorer for America’s National Women’s Soccer League. Kerr was named a finalist for the FIFA Female Player of the Year in 2017 and was awarded the Young Australian of the Year award in 2018 for her work advocating for women’s sports and inspiring girls to not let gender norms dictate how they live their life.
Rosie and Lucy Thomas
Sisters Rosie and Lucy Thomas are keynote speakers, facilitators, social innovators, MCs, and the co-founders of PROJECT ROCKIT; Australia's largest youth-driven movement against bullying. The women launched PROJECT ROCKIT straight out of high school 10 years ago. They have now commited their lives to the cause and have worked alongside hundreds of thousands of school students worldwide. The PROJECT ROCKIT program empowers students to stand up to bullying via workshops that tackle the themes of belonging, respectful relationships, diversity, values, and ethics.
We are Australia's youth-driven movement against (cyber)bullying. Built on the dream of a world where kindness and respect thrive over bullying, hate and prejudice, PROJECT ROCKIT empowers school students to challenge hate instead of standing by watching 🚀— PROJECT ROCKIT (@projectrockit) April 15, 2018
Here's how > pic.twitter.com/CAIQhlatti
Nouk was unable to read and write when he arrived in Australia in 2004, after fleeing the ongoing civil war in Sudan. Nouk is now an award-winning poet, author, artist, creative mentor, and educator who uses his poetry to personalise the refugee expirence and explain the hardships faced by refugees who settle in Australia. Nouk is also the founder and director of Creative Rebellion Youth, a music and arts centre that aims to connect and empower young people by providing them with safe creative outlets.
Butson is the first Australian to win the 2017 INTEL International Science and Engineering Award in its 67-year history for her invention of Smart Armour, a device that protects the non-treated breast from radiotherapy in breast cancer patients. Butson is the 2018 New South Wales Young Australian of the Year as well as a national youth ambassador for Green Cross Australia, a program that empowers people to respond to environmental change. Butson — who is currently completing Year 12 — has become a role model for young people across the nation, particularly empowering girls and women to work in the male-dominated science and engineering fields.
Twenty-four-year-old Telford is a climate change activist and the first Indigenous coordinator at the Australian Youth Climate Coalition. As the national director and founder of Seed, Australia’s only Indigenous youth climate network, Telford urges young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to work towards safeguarding the land from fossil fuel extraction and the effects of climate change. In 2014, Telford was awarded the National NAIDOC Youth of the Year award. A year later, she won both the title of Australian Geographic Young Conservationist of the Year and the Bob Brown Young Environmentalist for the Year award.
Young people have the potential to address the world’s most pressing issues in creative and innovative ways, but they have often had to fight to been seen and heard. This International Youth Day, Global Citizens can encourage young people across the world to realise their potential to create meaningful change in the world.